In what's being billed as the World Cup of Motor Sport, A1GP has signed a deal with the SPEED Channel to cover the remaining nine of its twelve races that make up the 2006-07 season. Beginning yesterday with coverage of the Sepang, Malaysia event run on November 28, coverage will continue through to the April 2007 finale in Brands Hatch, Great Britain. The series prides itself as being "the first opportunity in any area of motorsport for nations to compete on a level playing field." On the podium the winning nation raises its flag in celebration.

A1GP open wheel racecars feature chassis designed by Lola Engineering and carbon fiber bodies. The powertrain consists of a 3.4-liter V8 engine making 520 horsepower. Shifting through the gears is performed by an electronically automated paddle shift system attached to the side of the steering wheel. With this system, a driver can shift gears in 40 milliseconds, meaning a four-gear downshift can be performed in less than one second. Zytek Engineering produces both the engine and transmission.

Open wheel racing in equal cars with a high percentage of rookie drivers should produce some pretty exciting racing between the wrecks. The idea of racing for your country definitely presents a whole new outlook on the sport that may be able to draw some attention from the patriotic off-season NASCAR fans as they look to get their fix until Daytona in February. Of course, scoring airtime on SPEED doesn't hurt,either.


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